Sometimes curiosity grows into a passion – and it can lead you to uncharted territory.
Growing up, I probably heard the story about how my parents didn’t follow their instincts to invest in Apple over a dozen times. We lived in a one-bedroom apartment and the living room acted as my parent’s bedroom, the play den, entertainment room, and my dad’s work area. He had this big white drafting table with all kinds of rulers, mats, paper cutters, and erasers. He was a photographer working as a part-time draftsman like many of his friends in order to bring in extra income. But, in stark contrast to his peers, my dad was curious about computer science and programming just as computers were entering the consumer market. His friends actually laughed when he bought his first computer, the Commodore 64. But, my dad knew this new exciting technology was going to change the world and he was eager to soak up all the knowledge he could about computers.
Apple entered my dad’s life (and subsequently the entire family’s life) in the mid 1980’s when he purchased the original Apple Macintosh Plus model for $1,500. My dad started spending more and more time away from the drafting table and more time on this new “box screen.” My dad had an insatiable curiosity and we could all see the passion and genuine intrigue this computer – and brand – had ignited within him. He was the computer nerd of our family – Hawaiian t-shirt, glasses, and all! And while my mom still fusses and regrets about “missing the big opportunity” to buy Apple stock, the truth is, they invested in something much more sustainable: my dad’s passion. And I believe it has paid off (even if they aren’t collecting big fat checks in the mail). Unlike many of his peers who refused to learn about computers, my dad was able to transition into the digital age with ease. His IT skills coupled with his artistic background made him a unique and valuable hire for studios and advertising agencies alike. Today, he continues to lead a successful career in graphic design, even when he can technically retire. The ability to work within your field of passion is rare and it makes us all happy to see him happy to get excited about work.
Feed your passions – in any way that you can. They are worth it.
Fast forward a good 25 years and my fiancé at the time, Oded, was finishing up his Industrial Design studies and was becoming more and more interested in a different kind of new technology: 3D printing. Home desktop and prosumer 3D printers were entering the market at far lower prices than the more advanced and larger industrial 3D printers. Besides RepRap (one of the first low-cost 3D printers that was also open source design and software), there was a small startup in Brooklyn, called Makerbot. Maybe you’ve heard of it? (smiling) But, back in 2011, Oded was seriously debating whether he should spend the $1,300 to purchase Makerbot’s Thing-o-Matic model and go through the process of putting it together. And, of course the situation reminded me of my father and his Macintosh Plus.
It became abundantly clear that the physical price tag was a small price to pay for diving into Oded’s passion, entering the 3D printing community (Maker community) and learning first-hand about the technology. It is not everyday that someone discovers their deep passion. So, when you find it, you’ll do anything to feed the fire. As you should…
Passions are disruptive and can bring about the best kind of change.
The day the Thing-o-matic arrived in the mail, Oded’s face lit up and he spent several long days and nights constructing the printer. That’s the other great part of passion; you’ll find an incessant drive you never thought you even had! When our home 3D printer was finally up and running, we noticed a contagious spark of excitement and curiosity in the eyes of friends who visited, especially with his close friend (and fellow design student), Shaul. The two of them worked together on numerous projects and enjoyed tinkering with the printer and learning about the continual advancements in the technology.
True passions will stretch your limits, especially when it comes to business.
Then, the passion and hobby took on a completely new shape in the form of a business idea. Oded and Shaul wanted to bring the knowledge, experience, and creativity of 3D printing to the larger community. They worked hard to create a space where people from any age or background could see the printers up close and in action – and even design their own object for printing. They made connections with different 3D printing manufacturers, other designers and entrepreneurs. And just this past December, 3D Factory officially opened its doors as the first 3D printing experience store in Israel. Of course, it wasn’t easy and the store is still in its infancy, but I feel assured knowing that there is a driving passion burning at the heart of the business and it will continue to push the boundaries as much as possible.
[quote]The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. – Steve Jobs[/quote]
Passion is arguably the key ingredient to a successful career or business. I’ve mentioned these two stories, but everyone has a story of their own. For me, I’ve come to discover that my passion is people and making connections. Whether it is hobbies, freelance gigs, full-time work, or even travelling for fun, engaging with people from different backgrounds and sharing knowledge and skill sets appears to be a common underlying and constant thread. It’s the main reason why I created a niche social network for coffee lovers around the world. I wanted to bring people together over the virtual coffee table and encourage conversation – especially amongst the most unlikely of people. And just when I think Over Coffee is only a silly dream spurred by my idealistic spirit, someone new from halfway around the world signs up and shares her own personal “coffee story” or I read about a new kind of “coffee movement” with a pay-it-forward attitude. These moments have the power to reignite my passion and subsequently my motivation and efforts.
Passion is a driving force that can take you beyond monetary rewards in search for something greater and more meaningful. If you are fortunate, you will also make some money along the way. But, people who have that burning passion inside of them know the rewards exist, regardless.
If you are lucky enough to discover a passion, dig deep, and absorb yourself in the work and community. Inspiration, innovation, and knowledge can all sprout from a single spark of passion, so kindle the fire dearly.